What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to lose consciousness to experience one. In fact, only 10% of concussion patients experienced a loss of consciousness. Nor does it require a large hit either! Concussion severity is not directly related to how large the impact was. When you sustain a concussion, several processes occur. Shearing of small channels in the brain results in widespread energy loss. The brain enters an energy crisis state as it tries to heal from the event. While many people recover quite quickly, a large proportion continue to experience debilitating symptoms. This becomes a critical condition to properly manage known as Post-Concussion Syndrome.
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Traditional management of concussion endorsed heavy rest; sitting in a black room until symptoms abide. Unfortunately, this sensory deprivation approach is now strongly advised against as it can increase symptom duration and turn concussions into chronic events. Improper management of concussion leads to a phenomenon known as “The Trench” where excessive rest makes one more susceptible to flare ups. People will try to expose themselves to normal daily activity, subsequently flare up, and rest symptoms away. This is a common cycle that patients are drawn into based on traditional advice. Though it doesn’t work, it is still routine post-concussion education, leaving patients feeling helpless in their recovery.
How can physio help?
Concussions affect numerous processing pathways in the brain. Additionally, the force required to sustain a concussion is multiple times the force required to sustain whiplash. Therefore, we are often treating the neck which is a common culprit in headaches, dizziness, and pain. Other possible systems affected are vison, the inner ear, mood, cognition, and sleep. Everything is simultaneously trying to heal, using up buckets of energy in the process. While in this state, small increases in activity can result in symptom flare ups. Concussion physiotherapists work to increase the energy capacity in individually affected syste
Struggling with a concussion?
Book in with our concussion and vestibular physiotherapist Quinn Turner for a personalized rehabilitation plan to return to help you return to the things you enjoy.